Redland’s Fruit and Spice Park a paradise within our paradise

By Lynda Bell….

The annual Asian Culture Festival in March is one of the highlight events at the Fruit and Spice Park.

This spring, the events and activities at the Fruit and Spice Park in the Redland entertained, enthralled and enticed the senses, as more than 18,000 people enjoyed three of its signature events: the 22nd annual Asian Culture Festival (March); second annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue (April), and the annual Redland International Orchid Show (May), the largest orchid show in the continental United States.

And, while spring will soon give way to summer, the fun at Fruit and Spice Park only will continue with a variety of fun and tasty events and activities the whole family can enjoy.

Fruit and Spice Park was designed by the Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department to provide visitors with a truly excellent environment as the park is home to the flora and fauna native to many regions throughout the world. A true tropical paradise surrounded by thousands of acres of tropical agriculture, the park has been a showcase for South Florida’s agriculture community for the past 67 years. Boasting more than 500 varieties of exotic fruits, herbs, spices and nuts from around the globe, this 40-acre oasis is the only public botanical garden of its kind in the United States. Now, that’s something to be proud of!

The new garden, part of the park’s redevelopment plan after Hurricane Andrew devastated the grounds in 1992, has been divided into ethnic theme areas which include — Tropical America, Tropical Asia, Tropical Africa, Australia, the Pacific and the Mediterranean. Visitors can stroll through herb and vegetable gardens and walk in shady banana groves as well as participate in the park’s many classes, meetings, workshops and even exciting excursions designed to educate visitors on horticulture techniques year-round.

Agriculture professionals always are on hand to provide expert advice on gardening with fruits, vegetables and spices, as well as to assist the visitor in finding plants and give information on proper care and harvesting.

If all this exploring makes you hungry, the “Mango Café” offers visitors a relaxing respite where you can sample fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps and refreshing fruit smoothies — all in a laid-back, quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

But, before you go home, you can “take” a piece of the park with you by visiting the park store. Located adjacent to the parking lot, the park store offers dried and canned fruits, delicious jams and jellies, fruit juices, aromatic teas as well as a wide selection of cookbooks, gardening and reference books on tropical fruits and vegetables and even specialized horticultural supplies.

The Fruit and Spice Park truly is a “paradise within paradise” and a treasure to all the residents of our South Florida community. I encourage all of you to visit this wonderful place and spend the day surrounded by all the wonders that nature has to offer. The Fruit and Spice Park is located at 24801 SW 187 Ave. in Homestead.

For more information on operating hours, guided tours and even park rental, you can contact the park’s friendly and knowledgeable staff at 305-247-5727 or you can visit the website at www.fruitandspicepark.org.


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